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Judge Pauley Holds That Administering a Test Using a Computer Is Not Patent-Eligible Under § 101

On July 29, 2016, S.D.N.Y. District Judge William H. Pauley III granted defendant PlayerLync, LLC’s (“PlayerLync”) motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismissed plaintiffs Multimedia Plus, Inc. and Multimedia Technologies, LLC’s (collectively “Multimedia”) patent infringement action.

Multimedia alleged that PlayerLync infringed U.S. Patent No. 7,293,025 (the “‘025 Patent”), which claims a “hosted learning management system” for employee training that “maintain[s] large media files locally while transmitting only minimal data to a centralized server for analysis” by an employer.

In its motion, PlayerLync argued that the ‘025 Patent was invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 for failing to claim patent-eligible subject matter.  Judge Pauley applied the two-part test from Mayo and Alice to determine patent eligibility under § 101:  if a patent is directed to an abstract idea, it must contain an inventive concept sufficient to transform the abstract idea into patentable material.

First, the court agreed with PlayerLync “that the ‘025 Patent claims are directed at the abstract concept of administering a test:  The ‘025 Patent would provide users with instructional materials including test questions, collect answers to the questions, and send answers to a central server to be reviewed by a manager.”

Second, the court analyzed whether the ‘025 Patent’s computer implementation was sufficient to transform the abstract idea into patent-eligible material.  In holding that it was not, the court noted that the patent merely included conventional technology:  “a ‘local computer,’ a ‘training program including an interactive test having questions,’ a ‘training session display,’ a ‘first human-computer interface . . . enabling an employee to enter answers to questions,’ a ‘low bandwidth connection,’ a ‘remote computer server at a central location,’ and a ‘second interface enabling a manager to access’ the test information in real time.”  In sum, Judge Pauley explained that “the ‘025 Patent describe[d] the use of the internet and computers to make the process of test administration easier and more efficient,” which is “insufficient to render a claim patent eligible.” (internal quotation marks omitted).

Case:  Multimedia Plus, Inc. v. PlayerLync, LLC, No. 14-cv-8216 (WHP) (S.D.N.Y. July 29, 2016).  The patent-in-suit is 7,293,025.